This interesting name is of Norman origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. It is found chiefly in the western counties, in Bristol in particular, and is a 'status' surname deriving from the Anglo-Norman French feudal term 'Franchomme', meaning 'free man', composed of the elements 'franc', free, and 'homme', man. The English equivalent is 'Freeman', a familiar surname also dating from the age of feudalism. There are a number of variants of the name, reflecting local (folk) associations with the common English placenames endings '-combe' and '-ham', these are 'Francombe', 'Frankcombe', 'Frank(c)om', 'Frankham' and 'Francom'. The marriage of 'William White' and 'Elizabeth Frankham' was recorded at St. George's Hanover Square, London, in 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Franchume, which was dated 1234, in the Fines Court Records of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as the Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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